Estate Planning


Your estate is comprised of everything you own— your car, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, personal possessions. No matter how large or how modest, everyone has an estate and something in common—you can’t take it with you when you die. When that happens—and it is a “when” and not an “if”—you probably want to control how those things are given to the people or organizations you care most about. To ensure your wishes are carried out, you need to provide instructions stating whom you want to receive something of yours, what you want them to receive, and when they are to receive it. You will, of course, want this to happen with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees, and court costs.

Advanced Directives
What Are Advanced Directives?

- Designation of Health Care Surrogate: This is an individual that a patient designates to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the patient at a time the patient cannot make decisions for themselves.
- Durable Power of Attorney: A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone you choose the power to act in your place. In case you ever become mentally incapacitated, you'll need what are known as "durable" powers of attorney for medical care and finances. A durable power of attorney simply means that the document stays in effect if you become incapacitated and unable to handle matters on your own.
- HIPAA Release: A document that grants a person the authorization to receive medical information for a patient (typically through medical records)
- Designation of Preneed Guardian, also commonly known as Conservatorship: A competent adult may name a preneed guardian by making a written declaration that names such guardian to serve in the event of the declarant's incapacity.
- Living Will: A witnessed document in writing, voluntarily executed by the principal in accordance with s. 765.302; or a witnessed oral statement made by the principal expressing the principal's instructions concerning life-prolonging procedures.
Why Do I Need Them?
- They can save your life! In case of an emergency and you are not able to make decisions for yourself, your designees can make important decisions for you and make sure that your wishes for extending life are honored.
- Current health conditions: If you are a patient in an emergency situation, where emergency care is inevitable, you want your medical care staff and physicians to be aware of your medical conditions and wishes.
How Do I Get Them?
- Have your health care decisions and medical information readily available: Having easy access to your medical information for emergency care providers makes administering care easier and safer.
- Execute the proper documents: Hiring a competent attorney to handle your estate planning needs is essential.

Larry Griggs has an extensive library of informative, easy to understand videos that discuss estate planning in further detail. Click here.